Larry Layton came out last month to take a look at the remaining apple tree in the Bell Garden. It appeared it had been struck by lightning and needed pruning, but the reality is that the tree is dying and needs to come down. Joe Hunter reached out to the people he remembered being involved in her planting and provided this history:
Of Apple Trees and Roses
Around the time the bell tower was replaced by a timber-frame structure (1999-2000) there was an unrelated study of saints in the early church. St. Dorothy and her story spoke strongly to a few members who made an arrangement with an iconographer to write the icon of St. Dorothy. This is the icon that hangs in the hallway outside the Parlor by the door leading to the Bell Garden. Saint Dorothy was martyred in the middle of winter. At her death, the apple trees bore fruit and the roses bloomed. Another believer gathered them up in a basket and delivered them to someone who had mocked her. That was the miracle of St. Dorothy, and what led to the planting of three rose bushes at the base of Bell Tower and to the planting of three apple trees further out in that space that is now the Bell Garden. They grew! Two of them had to be removed and by 2020 only one remained. It too had to be taken down and was removed July 8th.
Several people gathered in the Bell Garden before she was removed and offered this prayer of thanksgiving:
Dear Lord of all creation, we thank you for the miracle of St. Dorothy, who made roses bloom and apple trees bear fruit in the winter. We give thanks for the saints who planted this tree, and for the sunlight and water and warm earth which nurtured her growth. We are deeply grateful for the shade of its leaves, the apples it has produced, the birds and small creatures which have found food and shelter in its branches. As with all things that are alive, our beloved apple tree has reached the end of her majestic life. In the All Saints’ Arboretum, new trees are receiving sunlight and water and warm earth to nurture them as new life in your creation. We ask your blessing on all of those who loved and cared for this tree and this garden, and for those who continue caring for your creation in this place. In Christ’s name and in the power of the Holy Spirit, Amen, Amen, Amen.
The Bell Tower Team: Warren Hollopeter and sons Noah and Joseph, Rev. Edward Scott, Alf Badgett, Jackie Duncan, Lee Newsome, Tom Dillard and Joe Hunter
Icon of Saint Dorothy: Jerry and Virginia Ridenhour, Buddy and Teka King and Joe and Anne Hunter
Apple trees and Roses: Planted by Joseph Hollopeter and Joe Hunter